Fairy Tales, Comedy & Tragedy at AU’s 2019 Opera Scenes

Fairy Tales, Comedy & Tragedy at AU’s 2019 Opera Scenes

4/12/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – Every spring the Ashland University Department of Music offers audience members a chance to experience live opera through a variety of scenes from a collection of well-known titles. In 2019, the two evenings of opera scenes will be performed on Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the intimate Studio Theatre at Ashland University. The performances are free and open to the public.

The variety of this year's scenes range from a fairy tale to comedies and a tragedy with many of them featuring story lines of love and romance. One similarity among all four of the operas is the idea of hidden and mistaken identities or masks. Also, all four of these operas are written by well-known composers (Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, and Humperdinck) and their titles (The Marriage of Figaro, La traviata, Die Fledermaus, Hansel and Gretel, respectively) are cornerstones of the opera world. 

Based on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is associated with the holidays and is often performed around Christmas. The Ashland performance will feature the opening scene where Hansel and Gretel are at their home and Hansel becomes very hungry. And we know how that ends. 

Several songs will be performed from Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus (aka The Revenge of the Bat), which is a story of mistaken identities, flirtations at a masked ball, elegant frivolities and confusions of all kinds. Our cast will perform "The Drinking Song" duet, Orlovsky’s aria, "Meir Herr Marquis" and "Sing to Love."

W. A. Mozart's comic opera The Marriage of Figaro tells the story of how the servants, Figaro and Susanna, taught their employer a lesson in fidelity and then succeeded in getting married. Selections from this comedy will include "Porgi Amor," "Voi che sapete" and "Sull’aria." 

The most serious of the evenings' opera scenes will come from Giuseppe Verdi's tragedy, La traviata (The Fallen Women). However, the song selection for Ashland's opera scenes is one of the lighter moments of the story as the ensemble performs "The Brindisi," the opera's famous drinking song and one of the best-known opera melodies.

Under the direction of Sandra Ross and accompaniment by pianist Deb Logan, this annual event features vocal performances from student singers. This year's cast includes Drew Berlin (Barberton), Kendra Garver (Shreve), Maggie George (Independence), Mia Kardotzke (Clyde), Maya Rickard (Wooster), Dave Tomlinson (Cleveland) and Rebecca Young (Sherwood, Oregon). 

Equally at home on both operatic and musical theater stages, Ross has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Cleveland Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Opera North, Sorg Opera and nine seasons with the Ohio Light Opera. Some of her favorite roles have been Orlovsky, Carmen and Cherubino. In Hamburg, Germany, Ross appeared for two years as Madame Giry in Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera. A frequent concert soloist, she has performed works including Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings Symphony, under the direction of the composer; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9; Beethovens’s Missa Solemnis; Prokofieff's Alexander Nevsky; Mozart’s Requiem; Haydn’s Mass in Bflat Major; Handel's Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria, with organizations including the orchestras of Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Ashland, Toledo and Youngstown. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ross holds a bachelor’s degree from Heidelberg University and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory where she studied with the renowned Ed Zambara.

For more information about the opera scenes and other music department performances, visit www.ashland.edu/music or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###